One of the main differences between me and a lot of the girls in the au pair program is that I have been nannying at home in Australia for nearly the last 4 years in some shape or form, so to me, instead of being a totally new experience (spending 8-10 hours days with kids, 5 days a week, which a lot of people who come into this program are not used to), it’s more the new environment and the new family that are the big things for me.
A couple of people have asked me what my “normal day” looks like. And I can assure you there is no “normal day”, but here goes nothing! It’s still “summer” technically (the kids don’t go back to morning preschool for a few more weeks) & so I thought I’d give you a bit of what my summer schedule has looked like for the last few weeks.
8am – I start. I pretty much take over from my host mom (or host dad, if they have switched up who is going into work earlier) wherever they are at – sometimes the kids are dressed, sometimes they are in their pjs still. Sometimes they have eaten breakfast, sometimes they are halfway through. A lot of the time they haven’t eaten, so I fix them something, fix myself something and then eat with them and talk about what we are going to do for the day.
8:30am – Help the kids get dressed, do Miss Three’s hair etc. A few days a week I do laundry for the kids and myself, and so we all go down to the basement. Sometimes the kids play with their toys down there while I load up the washing machine, but a lot of the time they like to help me put the clothes into the washing machine and turn it on.
9:30am – I like to try and get out of the house with the kids by 9:30am. There are so many cool playgrounds within 10 minutes drive of our house that we could go to a new one every day of the week. Our favourite morning playground has a synthetic soft ground covering, so it doesn’t make us dirty, and it’s soft if the kids fall over. We like to go to this playground in the morning and through the summer there are lot of other kids there to play with. If it’s too hot to go to the playground the local library has a great kids room with toys, puzzles, books and games where we like to hang out. One morning when it was too hot to play outside we went to the local mall and played in the play area there for an hour and then had lunch in the mall food court as a special treat! I’m dreading winter solely because we won’t be able to go to our favourite playgrounds!
11:30am – Lunchtime! I fix something for the kids and myself and we eat together at the table. I am trying to get the kids to use their manners on their own, and we all sit at the table together until everybody has finished.
12:00pm – After lunch is done Miss Three takes a nap, and Master Five has some quiet time where he is allowed to watch a TV show, play Angry Birds on the iPad for a little while (his newest interest) or play quietly. I use some of this time to tidy up the kitchen after lunch, move the laundry from the washer to the dryer, and fold it up, and the rest of the time I have some quiet time myself (sitting on the couch supervising Master Five while he plays AB’s!), or I play games with him.
2:00pm – We wake Miss Three from her nap after 2 hours (Master Five likes to go in and tickle her!) – she’d probably sleep for 3 if we let her, but then she wouldn’t go down at night and my host mom and dad would NOT be impressed!
2:30pm – After a snack, we like to get out in the afternoon for another activity to run off our energy! Our favourite playground close to home has lots of great swings, slides and things to climb on. We also use this time to go to the grocery store if we need to pick up a few things.
4:30pm – We try and get home by 4:30 so that I can fix dinner for the kids, but sometimes we like to stay out and play a little longer (while the weather is still nice) and get back closer to 5! The kids usually play in the living room or on the back patio where I can see them out the kitchen window, while I prepare their dinner (or sometimes if they are a bit rowdy they are allowed to watch a TV show).
5:00pm – The kids eat their dinner, and I sit with them and we talk about the fun things we have done during the day, and what we want to tell their mommy and daddy when they get home. I use this time to wash up the dishes from lunch and dinner as well.
5:30pm – BATHTIME! Usually it’s both kids in the tub, and then I just sit back and try to stay dry! Haha!
6:00pm – My host dad is usually the first home, and is treated as a climbing gym by the kids as soon as he walks in the door! And tada, my “official” day is done!
7:00pm – Depending of if I’ve eaten with the kids, sometimes I eat with my host parents when they come home from work. We talk about the day, tell funny stories, and I usually go to my room about 7pm to catch up with my family and friends back home. Some nights I’ll go out to the mall (which is only 10 minutes drive from here and open til 9 every weeknight), other nights I’ll just stay in and watch TV.
During the summer my host dad has been getting home a little earlier some days, and my host mom going to work a little later some days to make it down to 45 hours. My schedule won’t change drastically once school is back – Master Five goes to preschool 4 days a week, and Miss Three will start going 3 days a week, so I’ll have 3 mornings where I have one of them home with me after we drop the other off, and two mornings a week I’ll have a couple of hours off on my own while they are both in school!
I love working with preschoolers, because although they have SO much energy and are so LOUD (which can sometimes drive you crazy!), they are always learning, always asking questions (understatement of the century!!) and wanting to know what, when, where, why and who! And they absorb any information you give them!